Henry Rollins, circa 1982, is an absolute archetype of manliness. Covered with tattoos and boiling over with testosterone, Hank the Tank thrashed his way through live gigs and dispensed plenty of punches as the frenetic frontman for Black Flag. Meanwhile, punks and skins in the audience would attempt to match Henry's slam-dancing up a storm in the pit.
This over-the-top machismo of both Rollins and the music of Black Flag is turned on it ear by the swishy stylings of gay tribute band Black Fag, which is pretty much the antithesis of the legendary punk act in almost every aspect.
Simultaneously satirizing and saluting Black Flag, this fabulous SoCal fivesome (led by vocalist Liberace Morris) takes the band's overwhelming masculinity and aggression and filters it through a rainbow-colored prism of flamboyant gay stereotypes.
Instead of stalking around growling through the microphone, Morris minced about The Rogue Bar's stage lisping out lyrics to "No Values" and "I Don't Care" while dressed in a shimmering pink smoking jacket and clutching a martini. The rest of the band was equally outrageous, including the guitarist who dressed like a 300-pound bearded version of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
Such angry Black Flag anthems as "Slip It In" and "Six Pack" take on new meaning and gay subtext when sung by Morris, who amps up the innuendo and gay subtext while vamping up a storm. The tribute band also takes Black Flag's songs and make them their own, such as transforming "TV Party" into "TMZ Party," a ribald send-up of the infamous online gossip site and show.
Meanwhile, at various points throughout Black Fag's set, Morris was joined onstage by a pair of male cheerleaders sporting revealing cutoff and shaking their pom-poms. It was likely the most fun show I've ever witnessed at The Rogue, as well as one of the most original tribute acts ever. For instance, Black Fag ended their performance with Morris and the male cheerleaders donning flashy gold shirt and top hats before staging some Chorus Line-style kicks and dance moves.
Beat that, Hank.
1. Slip It In
2. Nervous Breakdown
3. Jealous Again
5. Six Pack
7. I've Had It
8. TMZ Party (a.k.a TV Party)
9. My Wardobe (a.k.a. My War)
10. I Don't Care
11. No Values
12. Louie Louie
Last Night: Black Fag at The Rogue Bar
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Personal Bias: "TV Party" is one of the catchiest songs ever written.
The Crowd: Punks and plenty of them.
Random Notebook Dump: I wonder what the dude who just air-humped the monitor was thinking?
One More Thing: Many Phoenix punkers were torn between seeing either Black Fag or The Aquabats, who were performing over at The Nile in Mesa. As a result, King promised that Liberace Morris and company wouldn't start their performance until after the MC Bat Commander and his crew had finished.